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Opinions of Friday, 1 May 2015

Columnist: Al-hajj

IFS’ Dirty Agenda Against JM, NDC

Prof. Kusi Destroying Dr Duffuor?

Perhaps, it may be the dream of former Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, to use his newly established Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) to contribute to the economic management of the country even after leaving office; however, managers of the recently inaugurated policy think-tank are gradually reducing the otherwise serious intellectual exercise to the settlement of personal scores.

Leading this dangerous vendetta is no other than the Executive Director of the Institute, Prof Kusi Kwadwo Newman, who was Dr Kwabena Duffuor’s special Assistant during his days at the Finance Ministry.

Without any sense of shame and regrets for the damage his parochial agenda is causing the enviable achievements of the once respected former Finance Minister and astute entrepreneur, Dr Duffuor; Prof Kusi, by his conduct, continues to tarnish Dr. Duffuor’s impeccable image.

As the immediate past special assistant to an NDC government’s former Finance Minister, Prof. Kusi’s unrelenting and desperate attempt at destroying the same government’s succeeding Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, using Dr Duffuor’s IFS is not only reprehensible, but unconscionable and must be condemned.

In recent times, Prof Kusi, hiding under the cloak as head of the fiscal policy institute, analyzing the management of the Ghanaian economy under its present handlers, has been inexorable, overtly and ostensibly going after finance minister Seth Terkper but undeniably, running down the Mahama government of which the founder and owner of his IFS, Dr Duffuor is an integral member.

The aL-hAJJ’s investigations has revealed that Prof Kusi’s penchant of attacking the person of Seth Terkper, who was a deputy to Dr Duffuor under the Mills administration, was to avenge problems he had with the now Finance Minister when they both served at the Finance Ministry.

In order to consolidate this evil agenda, the IFS Executive Director, in desperation, even teamed up with an NPP tainted so-called policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, to crucify the Finance Minister and the government of president John Mahama, a move that feeds into the regime change agenda of some opposition sponsored civil society organizations.

This Machiavellian plot, many have observed, is wrecking severe havoc to the successes and enviable record of the Dr Kwabena Duffuor, credited as one of the finest Ministers in modern times, who was also reported to have refused collecting his salary, allowances and use of official vehicles or fuel.

Marriage of Convenience Early this month, the IFS and IMANI Ghana, in a hurriedly organized press conference, pooh pooh government’s management of the economy and accused Finance Minister Seth Terkper of causing financial loss of Ghc2.7 billion to the state by his failure to continue hedging on oil prices on the international market, an exercise began by Duffuor.

“The question that arises is why couldn’t the country avoid the loss of Ghc2.7 billion? Why did the Government stop using the hedging programme that was successfully implemented between 2010 and 2012 to mitigate the losses?” Prof Kusi lamented.

Although Prof Kusi and his newly found ‘friends’ at IMANI were aware the decision to suspend the oil hedging was a cabinet decision, they deliberately singled out Seth Terpker in order to set him up for public ridicule and anger.

Government Response

In sharp riposte to IFS/IMANI’s claims, a deputy Finance Minister, Cassiel Ato Forson stated that statements by the two think tanks regarding the country’s petroleum price hedging programme were uninformed.

A statement he signed noted that, whilst the ministry encourages debate on the state of the economy and management of public finances, such debates must be "grounded on facts and technical know-how rather than conjecture and innuendo."

“It is wholly inaccurate for the two Think Tanks to state and thereby imply categorically that the hedging programme ended when the current Minister of Finance and his team were entrusted with reviving and managing the nation’s economy from 2013," statement asserted.

Aluta Continua

Despite this response from government which pushed both chatty think tanks into weeks of hibernation on issues relating to management of the nation’s economy, Prof Kusi in the last few days was again in the media to resurrect his immoral plot against Terkper and the NDC government with another spurious economic analysis of the IMF program with Ghana.

Overly obsessed with hatred for Terkper and the Mahama government even though he benefited from the same government when his boss, Dr Duffuor, was Finance Minister, Prof Kusi, without any cogent empirical indicators to buttress his claim, said government cannot achieve the targets outlined under the IMF program with the country because of the design of the programme.

“In its current form, I can tell you that by the next review, the government will slip. There is no way the government will be able to meet the conditions,” the vendetta possessed Prof Kusi noted.

Dr Duffuor on the radar

Many Ghanaians have bemoaned Prof Kusi’s approach to addressing fiscal policy issues under the umbrella of IFS, particularly when the think tank is bankrolled by a fine and disciplined banker cum entrepreneur with both local and international repute.

Those against this narrow and infantile personal-score agenda are disappointed with the man heading the IFS, “what Prof Kusi is doing is only obliterating the hard won reputation of Dr Duffuor. We all know Dr Duffuor established IFS, and he did so for a positive and genuine purpose, not what Prof Kusi is using it to do.”

“There is nothing wrong setting up an economic policy think tank to contribute to nation building and also to help train up and coming economists. I doubt if Dr Duffuor is in support of what Prof Kusi is doing. He is destroying him and the earlier he stops him the better,” a close associated of DrDuffuor confided in The aL-hAJJ.